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Nichols, USA Elite Pound Italy 6-0 to Win Intercontinental Cup

MADRID, Spain---Marissa Nichols went 2-for-2 at the plate with a home run and two RBIs to help guide the USA Elite National Team to a 6-0 win over Italy that captured the 2005 Intercontinental Cup. 

“This team did an incredible job of coming out and being aggressive early against a very good Italy team,” said head coach Teresa Wilson. “I’m really pleased with the way they came together and got the job done here in Madrid.” 

Heather Scaglione, who singled with one out in the second inning, scored on a single by Nichols to center field to give the U.S. an early 1-0 lead. 

With one out in the third, Lindsay Schutzler and Jessica Merchant laced back-to-back singles to start a rally that would produce three runs. Samantha Findlay singled to right field to score Schutzler, and Mackenzie Vandergeest, who was named the top hitter in the tournament, doubled to right field to score two more runs. 

The lead-off home run by Nichols and a double by Merchant that scored Schutzler, who walked with two outs, accounted for the final two runs of the game. 

Jennie Ritter was named as the top pitcher of the tournament after tossing five shutout innings against Italy in the final game to pick up her second win of the week. Dana Sorensen pitched the final two innings to close out the game. 

“I was excited about getting the start in the championship game today and wanted to do everything I could to give the team a chance to win,” said Ritter. “It makes it a lot easier to go out and pitch when you have the type of hitters we have on this team. I knew they would score the runs, so I just needed to do my job in the circle.” 

Merchant was named as the Most Valuable Player after hitting .500 (12-for-24) with six doubles, eight RBIs and a perfect fielding percentage at shortstop. 

The USA Elite Team completed the 2005 season with a 16-2 overall record that included a second-place finish at the Canada Cup to accompany the Intercontinental Cup title.